“But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.  For without the Law sin was dead.”

         “But sin, taking occasion”– The principle of depravity.  

“I think the point in both this and in the 11th verse to be wrong: the comma should be after occasion, and not after commandment.  But sin taking occasion, wrought in me by this commandment all manner of concupiscence.”–Adam Clarke’s Commentary 

       BUT SIN: (Grk.–de hē hamartia)–Literally: “but the sin.” Meaning, Paul’s inbred corruption. To illustrate the effect of the law on the mind, Paul depicts       its influence in exciting his own evil desires and purposes.

Here Paul is here personifying sin. He is explaining that his innate sinful inclination led him to resist the commandment and to indulge evil desires in opposition to its requirements. Resistance to its restraints increased his wickedness, and showed, beyond what he had before seen, his depravity of heart. The sin within him was dead; was in a slumbering state, not active and strong. 

         OCCASION: (Grk.–aphormên)–This Greek word (aphormên) literally mean “to  make a start from a place; any material, or preparation, for accomplishing a task; then any opportunity, occasion, etc. of doing it.  Aphormên is a   military term, used for a base of operations or starting point from which an attack is launched.

It is used primarily to mean, “a starting point; a base of operations.”   Thus, “the origin, cause, occasion, or pretext” of a thing.  See II Cor. 5:12; 11:12; Gal. 5:13 for aphormên as a starting place from which to rush into acts of sin, excuses for doing what they want to do. Just so drinking men use the prohibition laws as “occasion” for violating them.

         “For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion (aphormên) to glory on our behalf…”  
       “But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion (aphormên) from them which desire occasion  (aphormên) ; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we” (II Cor. 5:12; 11:12).
        “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only {use} not liberty for an occasion  (aphormên)  to the flesh, but by love to serve one another” (Gal. 5:12).

      This really explains the relation of the Law to sin.  The Law is not of itself sin, but sin found occasion in the Law to take place.  This is used only by Paul. Here the Law is represented as furnishing sin with the material or ground of assault.  In other words, sin took the Law as its base of operations.  A starting place from which to rush into acts of sin, excuses for doing what they want to do. Just so drinking men use the prohibition laws as “occasions” for violating them.
      But for the Law, the effect here described would not have existed. Thus we say that a tempting object of desire presented is the exciting cause of covetousness. Thus an object of ambition is the exciting cause of the principle of ambition. Thus the presentation of wealth, or of advantages possessed by others which we have not, may excite covetousness or envy. Thus the fruit presented to Eve was the exciting cause of sin; the wedge of gold to Achan excited his covetousness.

“by the commandment”
Literally: “Through the commandment.”–By all Law appointed to restrain and control the mind. Forbidding, but not subduing it, was only fretted, and wrought in me so much the more all manner of evil desire.

Strange a psychological fact as it is, it is nevertheless true that to the carnal nature what is forbidden seems especially desirable. Adam and Eve would hardly have desired the forbidden fruit had it not been forbidden. When sinful man's freedom is limited, he rages against the limitation. One of the agnostic Ingersoll's pleas against the Divine government is that it is a limitation of freedom.

         “wrought in me”
         Literally:  “Worked out in me.” —Produced or worked in me.

         WROUGHT: (Grk.– kateirgasato)–Signifying, “the accomplishment or bringing to pass.”– Produced or worked in me.  This word means to operate in a powerful and  effective manner.

         “all manner of concupiscense”
         Literally:  “Every lust.”–Every species of unlawful desire. It was not confined to only one   desire, but extended to
everything which the law declared to be wrong. 

         The Law showed what was evil and forbade it; and then the principle of rebellion, which seems essential to the very nature of sins, rose up against the prohibition.  And Saul was the more strongly incited to disobey in proportion as obedience was enjoined.  Thus Paul shows that the Law had authority to prohibit, condemn, and destroy; but no power to pardon sin, root out enmity, or save the soul.
         Someone has observed that it is only after a rule is put in place that people really want to do whatever it forbids.  What Paul was saying goes beyond the psychological observation that “stolen fruits” are the sweetest.  From a human perspective law is viewed as a restriction that in turn causes resentment and gives rise to rebellion.

                 CONCUPISCENCE: (Grk.– epithumia)–The same Greek word in verse 7 translated as “lust.”  signifies simply strong desire of any kind; but in the N.T. it is       generally taken to signify irregular and unholy desires.  Sin in the mind is the desire to do, or to be, what is contrary to the holiness and authority of God.  

         The main idea here is that opposition by Law to the desires and passions of wicked men only tends to inflame and exasperate those desires.  This is the case with regard to sin in every form.  An attempt to restrain it by force only tends to irritate and excite into living energy that which otherwise would be dormant in the heart.  This it does, because:
1.      It crosses the path of the sinner, and opposes his intention, and the current of his feelings and his life.

2.      The Law acts the part of a detector, and lays open to view that which was in  the heart, but was concealed.
3.      Such is the depth and obstinacy of sin in man, that the very attempt to restrain it often only serves to exasperate, and to urge to great deeds of wickedness.
Restraint by law simply rouses the mad passions, urges to great deeds of depravity, makes the sinner stubborn, obstinate and more desperate.

“for without the Law”
Literally:  “For apart from Law.”–Meaning before it was given; or where it was not applied to the mind.  That is, before its extensive demands and prohibitions come to  operate upon our corrupt nature.

         “sin was dead”
         Literally: “sin {is} dead.”  Sin in reality was there in a dormant state. It was
inoperative, inactive, unexcited.

           DEAD:  (Grk.– nekra)–Not active; dormant; was in a slumbering state, not active and strong.  Neither so apparent, nor so active; nor was I under the least apprehensions of any danger from it.

Paul is evidently speaking in a comparative sense. The connection requires us to understand it only so far as it was excited by the Law. The sinful principle of our nature lies so dormant, or so listless, that its power is really unknown, and to our feeling it is as good as being “dead.”  Men's passions would exist; but without law they would not be known to be evil, and they would not be excited into wild and tumultuous raging.   

“For I was alive without the Law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”

         “for I was alive”
         Literally:  “and I was living”–In a state of unconscious morality, uninstructed, but as yet not condemned. 

       FOR I:  ( Grk.– egō de)–Literally:  “and I.”   Paul here is referring back to his own past experience. Yet even in this he speaks the sentiment of all who are unconverted, and depending on their own righteousness.

        WAS ALIVE: (Grk.– ezōn)–Literally: “was living”–a seeming life.  This is opposed to what he immediately adds respecting his former state; that is, the state he was when he died.

What Paul means is that he had a certain kind of peace; that he deemed himself to be secure; or that he was free from the convictions of conscience and the agitations of alarm. The state of which he is speaking here must be when he considered himself to be righteous, depending on his own works, and esteeming himself to be blameless (Phil. 3:4-6; Acts 26:4-5). 

        “My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;”
        “Which know me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straightest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee” (Acts 26:4-5).

        “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh.  If any other man thinketh that  he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
        “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel,
{of} the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Phraisee;

        “Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless” (Phil. 3:4-6).

“And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.”

         “And the commandment”–Meaning the Law to which he had been referring before.    

           COMMANDMENT: (Grk.–entolēs)–Meaning the law in general, which was ordained to life; the Rule of Righteousness teaching those statutes which if a man do he shall live in them, (Lev. 18:5).

Paul is saying that he found, by transgressing the Commandment  to be unto death; for it only presented the duty and laid down the penalty, without affording strength to resist sin or subdue evil desires.

“which was ordained to life”
Literally: “for life.”–The Commandment, which was intended to produce life, or happiness, I found that when it came to my sinful heart, it resulted in death (for I could not   keep it). 

                 TO LIFE:  ( Grk.– eis thanton)–Literally:  “was {meant for} life.”   Life here stands opposed  to death , and means joy, peace, eternal bliss.

         When Paul says that it was ordained to life, he may be referring to the numerous passages in the O.T. which speak of the Law in this manner. Lev. 18:5, “Ye shall keep my statutes and my judgments; which if a man do, he shall live in them,” Ezek. 20:11 ,13; 18:9, 21).
         The commandments had a promise of Life, “The man which doeth those things shall live by them" (10:5). Doubtless it was originally intended by God as a way of preserving and increasing spiritual life, and leading to life everlasting.  To give life to all who should perfectly obey it.

         I found to be unto death”

         Literally: “Was found {to be} death to me”–At least it was to me. 

Because I had broken it and fallen under its curse.  It produced this effect. When he found that, instead of keeping the commandments, he had broken them, he realized he was under condemnation.  Producing aggravated guilt and condemnation (v. 9).

         UNTO DEATH:   (Grk.– autē eis thanton)–Literally:  “to this {was} death.  Antithesis of life (zōen).  Unfortunately, the KJV has omitted the significant adjective, “this” (Grk.–autē), meaning, “to this death” or, “to this very death.”  This has tragic emphasis.  The aim of this commandment was life, but I found it to be death.

There is tragedy in store for the person who tries to live by the Law!  It will not lead him to life.  While it is true that God said, “This do and thou shalt live” (Deut. 8:1), the doing of it is what is difficult.  The fault was not in the Law, but in the one who thought the Law would bring life and power.  It does neither.  It just reveals the weakness inability,  sin of man.  If there had been a law that would have given life, God would have given it (see Gal. 3:21); but life and Christian living do not come by the Law.

“For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew

         “For sin”– This verse, with a little variation, is a repetition, of the sentiment in verse 8, but now with more detail.

                 SIN:  (Grk.– hamartia)–Literally:  “sinful deed,  be sinful, sin.”  The dormant sin that was already in my heart.  My old sin nature.

         “taking occasion”– Sin, deriving strength from the Law, threatening death to the   transgressor.

         “by the commandment”
         Literally:  “through the commandment”–Just as Satan in Eden took occasion of the prohibition to eat the fruit of the
Tree of Knowledge.

“deceived me”–The “deception” here is fully illustrated by the history of the Fall (Gen. 3:4-5).  The Tempter “took occasion by” the prohibition to “deceive” the woman as to the character of God for truth and love; alienated her will from Him; and so brought in death . Since then  he finds the human will ready or open to his deception.

                 DECEIVED ME:  (Grk.– exêpatêse me)–Beguiled me; made me lose my way. 

         The Greek word (exêpatêse) used here really means, to lead or seduce from the right way; and  then to deceive, solicit to sin, cause to err from the way of virtue,(16:18; I Cor. 3:18; II     Cor. 11:3,).
         Sin, or the corruption of my heart and nature, became stirred up by the commandment which forbids lust, and condemns it, enticed me, and persuaded me, and prevailed over me, to yield to the lusts of my own heart, and then condemned me, and slew me for yielding to them.

“by it slew {me}
Literally:  “through it killed {me}”–While I expected life by the Law, sin came upon me unawares and slew all my hopes.  I found it to be unto death –through breaking it.